Sunday, 4 November 2018


Sleeping Beauty’s Mother Tells Her Story

by Ellen LaFleche


When the fairy godmother slapped that curse on my baby, I nearly went crazy. I tried everything. Prozac, talk therapy, hypnosis. Nothing could make me forget. My husband tried to burn every spinning wheel in the kingdom. He scoured the countryside. He thought he could reverse the curse, like that baseball team in Boston. I hired a dream team of lawyers. They managed to amend the curse. Under the new contract, my daughter wouldn’t die from the spindle’s prick – she’d sleep instead for a hundred years. Still, I howled. A century in a coma! On my daughter’s fifteenth birthday, I slit my wrists. My lady-in-waiting dragged me out of the tub, my arms trailing blood. The party was in full swing. My daughter sparkled in a blue Dior gown. Who knows how she managed to sneak past the guards, the high-tech security cameras? But she took the prick to her finger. Time stopped, freezing us in place. Wars came and went. Time went on for everyone else even though it had stopped for us. Let Einstein explain! Then the kiss-on-the-lips awakening. Some fool prince had hacked through the brambles with a weed-whacker. Bound by contract, my daughter signed the happily-ever-after clause. Within a couple of years, my daughter gave birth to a royal heir and a spare. Morgan, my beautiful granddaughter, is fast approaching her fifteenth birthday. My doctor has prescribed the newest anti-depressant. Says there’s a serotonin imbalance in my brain. I know better. Meanwhile, my husband the old king is hunting down every last spindle in the kingdom.


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Ellen LaFleche is the author of three chapbooks: Workers' Rites (Providence Athenaeum), Beatrice (Tiger's Eye Press) and Ovarian (Dallas Poets Community Press). She won the Tor House Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Poetry Prize, the Hunger Mountain Prize, and the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Prize. She is an assistant judge for the North Street Book Prize and a freelance editor. She is currently finishing a manuscript tentatively titled Walking into Lightning with a Metal Urn in My Hands, a collection of poems following the death of her husband to ALS.